Regarding Mom's Role In Wedding

luckymom_cJanuary 19, 2009


While I was reading another discussion about both parents walking the bride down the aisle, a thought developed about my daughter's upcoming wedding.

Her father and I have been divorced since her mid-teens. She remains close to him, but my husband, her step-father, paid for her college, and for a majority of her first wedding. He's very supportive in general. Luckily he's also easy going and doesn't expect preferential treatment in any way.

My questions - or maybe I should say my thoughts - are about my role in the wedding ceremony. I'm spending a lot of time helping her plan the wedding. I'm making her dress, growing flowers and plants for decorating, and providing the dresses for the flower girls (our 3 granddaughters), and I'll be helping construct bouquets and favors prior to the ceremony.

I won't be hosting any parties, because I live 90 minutes away from her and her friends. I don't think there will be a shower since it's her second wedding. I won't have a role at the wedding, because that honor will be given to her natural father. If someone walks her down the aisle, it will be him (it would be weird for the two of use to escort here, since we're divorced). He will dance with the bride, toast the couple, etc. I will however be asked to take care of details during set-up and clean-up.

I'm feeling sorry for myself. Lots of work and very little of the "fun" stuff. My ex- on the other hand has virtually no investment of time or cash and gets all the credit (as he did at the first wedding). And my husband will be nearly invisible. Am I being selfish? I don't really like the idea of carrying around these negative feelings and would like to find some alternative ideas. I know that's vague, but this community seems very creative and level headed.

Thanks for your constructive ideas.


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I certainly understand why you feel as you do. Who wouldn't?

You write, "If someone walks her down the aisle, it will be him (it would be weird for the two of use to escort here, since we're divorced)." Are you sure? At Jewish weddings, in which the bride's and groom's parents to walk them down the aisle, divorced parents do it all the time -- I have very rarely seen a wedding where they didn't, in fact. They just put aside any bad feelings for the moment as best they can, and if it feels weird to them, it doesn't show. It is understood that they are there not as a couple, but as their child's parents (which I suppose is equally true of married parents anyway); it doesn't look like they are pretending anything about their relationship to each other. It's not ABOUT them. So if that would do it for you, maybe reconsider. There are also toasts at the reception, a special dance with the new son-in-law or perhaps your daughter (why not?), and other things. Maybe they will surprise you with a special, public thank-you.

But ... is this really about who does what at the wedding? You write that "[m]y ex- ... has virtually no investment of time or cash and gets all the credit." What "credit"? For what? Do you think people are assuming he did the work and paid the bills? Or do you mean "glory" or "attention"? I can see it being irritating, but is it really important?Anyway, the focus is on the bride, not her parents.

I think it's wonderful, all the things you are doing for the wedding (and all the things you CAN do -- sewing, gardening, decorating -- whew!). But aren't you doing them because you WANT to do them? If not, then DON'T do so much -- even doing one or two of those things would be a lot, especially for a second wedding, if you gave the first, too. But if you are doing all those tasks because you LIKE doing them, then let the resentment go and don't worry about if everyone is giving you "credit."

If you feel that others should be doing more with the set-up and other chores, then ask for help, delegate, or just say no. But to sulk about being martyred is childish, and in the end, it will spoil your own fun, too.

Sure, from time to time, anyone in your position would feel like she ought to be getting some major appreciation! And I hope you get some. But overall, you'll feel better about yourself if you give with your whole heart, and only those things you can give with your whole heart, and not worry about whether people are all noticing that you are the good one.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 3:50PM
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I agree with Gellchom. As a wedding planner and mother of three, moms usually find their satisfaction in the bonding that occurs during the wedding planning and in the creation of the items leading up to the wedding (the gown, etc.). Most are not worried about the attention they may or mat not receive the day-of. You will be busy with family and friends that day and that should be enough.

If your daughter would like to have both parents escort her down the aisle, that is great. If she prefers, as a second time bride, to walk in alone, that is fine as well.

Your participation should be because you really want to be involved and you want to help your daughter have a wonderful day, not for any other reason.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 5:41PM
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Hi gellchom and sweet pea10,
I didn't know about Jewish tradition, that's useful and gives me something to think about.

But ouch... calling me childish, a martyr, sulky, and a glory seeker is kind of harsh. I'm not sure what I said that made you both feel that I'm looking for attention. So, while trying to formulate a reply I looked more closely at what I'm really feeling... I already know my contributions are very much appreciated, and I love helping, that's why I volunteer.

What I didn't express well, because I hadn't scrutinized my feelings, is that I would love the opportunity show my love, admiration, pride, and support of my daughter and her groom at the wedding. I guess that's why I was focused on her father's role... the walk down the aisle, the toast, the dance are all ways of showing pride, love, support, etc.. I already know there aren't any toasts or dances scheduled for mom. And, as I mentioned earlier, there aren't any parties either. So it's kind of an "all work and no play" situation. The combination of the two has left me feeling a little sad. So I thought I'd try being pro-active instead.

In today's world people are always doing a lot of new and innovative things, so I was hoping to hear some ideas.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 7:23PM
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luckymom, I'm sorry I made you feel bad. I can tell you want to make your daughter's wedding special. I wish I could do all the things you can. (If you really are wondering what in your post made us focus on that, it's that paragraph near the end: "I'm feeling sorry for myself... My ex ... gets all the credit (as he did at the first wedding) ... I don't really like the idea of carrying around these negative feelings." To me, that sounds like something I would say when I wanted a friend to tell me she hears me, but to snap out of it! :-) And that is what we were trying to do.)

Would you feel comfortable asking whoever is doing the "scheduling" to put in a dance, toast, and/or whatever you'd like for you? Are those things scheduled for others, just not for you? Or are they not planning anything at all? Either way, I think there's nothing wrong with your asking.

The point is simply to ASK for what you'd like rather than waiting for others to guess it. As you put it, "try being pro-active instead."

If, on the other hand, what is important to you is not doing something at the wedding, but that THEY think of it first rather than you having to ask -- well, you know what? I understand that, too! We all feel sorry for ourselves sometimes, and I don't think you're unjustified. Look at all you're doing! I agree you deserve credit, and if they don't give it to you, they are being ungrateful.

But anyone smart enough to call herself "luckymom" knows that if you're smart, you let yourself indulge in those feelings for a LITTLE while, and then let it go and enjoy this wonderful time with your family.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 7:58PM
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"I won't have a role at the wedding, because that honor will be given to her natural father."

Of course you have a role, you are the mother of the bride! Walking the bride down the aisle is only one role, not the only role. The MOB is honored by being the last person seated (after all guests) before the bridal procession.

Maybe you could ask her if you and the groom's mother could participate in a unity candle ceremony? I've seen this done quite a bit. Both mothers (or in my case, DH's mother and my father since my mother had died) hold candle and the bride and groom light candles from those, and then light one candle.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 9:55PM
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Do get others to help you with clean up. Are there aunts of the bride you could ask? Or some of your close female friends? I can see you will be working hard prior to the wedding day, but on the day itself, you ought to be able to sit back, enjoy the festivities, the friends, observing the loving couple, hostessing and not be a work horse.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2009 at 4:40PM
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You mention there will be no parties. If there are relatives or family friends in your area, you might consider having a tea or luncheon for your daughter. It would be a great way for those close to her to celebrate with her without the expectations associated with a shower.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2009 at 4:46PM
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I can relate to you. I always offer help and while appreciated, some times the way the appreciation is shown doesn't "fit" the help that was given. I don't know how else to say it.

Sounds like you are doing a lot. Will there be any bridesmaids? Why can't you walk her down the isle? Have you mentioned it to her? I don't get why her "father" who it sounds like hasn't been in her life like you and your husband is getting the honor of walking her.

I don't know what the answer is, how close you are to your daughter or if she'd even think to do something special for you two. Some people don't.

I do think that maybe you should say something. Your daughter can't read your mind & if you want to be more involved in the day you need to speak up.

I will however be asked to take care of details during set-up and clean-up.

Who else is helping?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 5:22PM
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First of all, in our household we would never pay for a second wedding.. We gave them what they wanted the first time around. The second one would be on them.

Everyone knew what we had done for our kids because THEY expressed their graditude to us at the wedding. The kids made it known that they would not have had the special day without us and how much they loved us.. My husband and I both received the nicest gift for each of them. We will always cherish what they gave us. My husband always tells people when he uses his knife, it is his $12,000 knife.. He has got so many laughs..

Our kids knew we had put alot of time and money into their days. They all knew not to go wild with the expenses. We are very common people. Not rich by any means. They all got most everything they wanted..The 2 older ones got married 2 weeks apart. It was so wonderful seeing my husband dancing with our daughters. They are days that all of us will remember..

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 3:54PM
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